Playing games together is definitely one of the best ways to bond as a family. But sometimes it’s hard to find a game that everyone can play. We put together a list of our favorite multiplayer and cooperative games that more than two people can play, so you don’t leave anyone sitting out next time you have a family game night.
Oh, boy. Sportsfriends is a complete riot, and I mean that in the best of ways. There is no single-player mode at all; instead, Sportsfriends consists of four mini-games, each requiring at least two players. There’s also no online play, and one of the games doesn’t even use your TV—it involves running around with PlayStation Move controllers. The games are all hilarious takes on somewhat real sports—including jousting, which is the minigame that requires the Move controllers. For families who are concerned about online safety, about getting screentime together, and about active gaming, Sportsfriends is a great idea.
Just make sure you’re okay with getting competitive! Sportsfriends is right up there with Mario Kart in terms of pitting loved ones against each other.
Four Nintendo Games
This might seem pretty obvious, but we really can’t stress enough how great a family gaming console the Wii U is. Nintendo has been releasing one great multiplayer game after another. Last year we got Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Mario Kart 8. Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game that supports up to eight players, and Mario Kart is, of course, a classic racing game. If you want something more cooperative than competitive, Super Mario 3D World does keep score, but you’re not fighting—you’re traveling and collecting items together. Then, of course, there’s Mario Party 9, the ultimate mini-game extravaganza. All these games are designed to be family-appropriate, and the Wii U is one of the most affordable consoles out there. Perfect for family game night.
Minecraft is already one of the best collaborative games out there, so it’s a given that it should have local multiplayer. On the console version of Minecraft, you can have up to four players sharing a screen—and eight players total in a world if you’re playing online.
We love Minecraft for co-op play because it suits all kinds of players. You can explore and build peacefully, or you can fight monsters and struggle to survive. Also the controls are really simple, so it shouldn’t be hard for young and old players to all have a good time with it. Players build all kinds of awesome structures in Minecraft. For all its simplicity, it’s really creative.
Not to be confused with Sportsfriends, Sportsball is indeed a sports game you play with friends. In homage to the classic Joust arcade game, this Wii U game supports two to four players and throws soccer into the mix along with the jousting-on-giant-birds thing. There’s nothing about it that isn’t designed for getting the whole family involved in wacky shenanigans. And it’s rated E, so there’s no need to worry about inappropriate content. We got to see Sportsball in action at the Indie Game Revolution launch party last November, and it was constantly surrounded by people screaming and cheering for their favorite players. Sportsball also lets one person take the role of the commentator, using the microphone on the Wii U’s gamepad. So even if you’re not playing, you can still get involved.
The LittleBigPlanet Series
No matter what LittleBigPlanet game you’re playing, it’s gonna be awesome. LittleBigPlanet is a puzzle-platformer. You take the role of an adorable little sackcloth character and navigate dangerous obstacles to reach the end of each level. These games are some of my favorites; they’re all funny, challenging, and really heartwarming. I especially love them as co-op games because you can play with up to four players, and those players can pop in and out at any time. This makes it perfect for busy families who might need to be doing a few things at once.
The players all share the same screen too, which I prefer to split-screen play. It encourages you to stick close and work together to get past obstacles.
If fantasy is your cup of tea, Trine 2 is definitely one to check out. This side-scrolling puzzle platformer supports up to three players in different roles. As a knight, wizard, or thief you travel through a magical forest, helping your companions through various hazards. As in LittleBigPlanet, if your character is defeated you spawn at the next checkpoint so the whole party can stick together. There are dragons, magical flowers, enormous snails—all the important elements of a fantasy story.
Just Dance 2015
Just Dance 2015 is a dance game that’s more about having fun than scoring the most points. You can play with up to five players. It’s got a cute, colorful style and a good mix of modern and classic music, so everyone can enjoy themselves. It’s also available on Wii, Xbox, and PlayStation, making it the most accessible dance game out there. And since it’s not as intense as other dance games, we recommend it for family game nights, slumber parties, and any time you want to get up and moving around.
That’s it! Did we miss your favorite game? Let us know in the comments below.